Chapter 4 » 4.33
Local meetings differ greatly in size. Thus the scope of work undertaken will vary but every local meeting will give due respect to Quaker values, testimonies and practice and will provide regular opportunities for public worship.
The following responsibilities need to be considered by every local meeting although some of them may best be fulfilled in conjunction with another local meeting, or through the area meeting.
- Make arrangements for the regular holding of public meetings for worship, which will normally be held at least once a week. Suitable premises will need to be arranged. If, after careful thought, a local meeting wishes to meet less frequently then, with the agreement of its area meeting, it may do so but there should be meetings at least once each month; this should be reviewed each year. The area meeting must be kept informed of the days and times when meetings for worship are held.
- Use Advices and queries (1.05–1.07).
- Nurture and sustain the spiritual life of the meeting and the pastoral care of those associated with it; the welcoming of newcomers is of particular importance. Enquirers should be helped to explore and understand the Society.
- Take a special responsibility for the children within its care and for their parents. The continuing religious education of all, including regular attenders as well as members, should be of real concern to the meeting.
- Conduct all its own business and hold regular meetings for church affairs, which should be planned to involve all members of the meeting. These meetings should include preparation for area meeting business.
- Encourage, by appointment or otherwise, an attendance of local Friends at the area meeting (see 10.06); Friends should be encouraged to take a full part in the activities of their area meeting.
- Make sure that the financial needs of the meeting and the yearly meeting are properly understood by its members and that channels exist for giving in a convenient way. Accounts of any financial activities must be kept in accordance with the general rules set out in 14.13–14.17 and the guidance given by the area meeting; they must be examined by an independent person (who must satisfy the conditions set out in 14.15–14.16) before the annual statement of accounts is considered by the meeting and, if approved, accepted and reported to the area meeting.
- Prepare such statistics, returns and reports as are required.
- Preserve certain records (see 4.40).
- Monitor the relevance of new legislation to its activities, as advised by the area meeting (see 4.10.t).
- Consider local outreach; as a minimum the advertising of the times and places of meetings in the local press and placing an entry in the telephone directory should be arranged in conjunction with the area meeting.
- Support other local meetings to carry out their responsibilities when requested and support the formation and nurture of new local worshipping groups and occasional meetings for worship.
- Appoint correspondents to Quaker bodies as appropriate.
- Maintain a library and encourage the reading of Quaker publications (see 13.41–13.42).
- Form links with other churches and faith communities in the area and where possible jointly undertake service in the community (see 9.14–9.20).
- Seek to exert a Christian influence in the neighbourhood both as a meeting and in co-operation with others.